On any given day, you will rarely find Kathy Van Dam sitting down and doing nothing. Life is packed for this Girl Scout leader, and organizer for Cultural Homestay International, who helps manage her home farm, too.
As a Girl Scout leader for the past 16 years, Van Dam has earned approximately 200 patches that have been sewn onto two jackets, both full. With her training and dedication, she has earned her way up the leadership ladder to Service Team, a step above a regular troop leader. One of her tasks within the Girl Scouts is managing and bookkeeping for 40 troops in the Auburn, Foresthill, and Loomis areas.
Van Dam organizes several Girl Scout events including World Thinking Day, a day dedicated to learning and exploring other cultures from other countries. She creates and organizes the Annual Guys & Gals dance for all the troops to escort their fathers to an evening of dancing. Both of these events fall in February, as well as the famous Girl Scout cookie delivery, where people go crazy for the treats including the most popular item Thin Mints.
Several other events throughout the year keep Van Dam actively involved, who averages about 40 hours a month volunteering. Events include, recognition dinner for troop leaders, Rope Runners, and the Salvation Army Community Dinner on Thanksgiving where she wakes up each year at dawn to organize the over 300 colored placemats that decorate the tables. Then, after volunteering the mornings at the dinner, she manages to create a Thanksgiving meal for her own family and friends, or prepares part of the meal to take to friends.
Another joy for Van Dam is working with Cultural Homestay International where she organizes events, drives, and sets up host families for high school exchange students from around the world. This coming March, Van Dam will again be organizing day trips for students visiting from Japan that include trips to the State Capital, San Francisco, and the U.S. Post Office in Loomis. Those students will be taking some classes at Del Oro High School that gives them the American education hands-on experience. Van Dam has hosted four students in her home, two of them a full school year. Hosting students has given her the opportunity to travel abroad to visit them in Japan, Philippines, and Germany.
After two years in the Army, Van Dam received an accounting degree San Jose State University. When not at work as a bookkeeper for the Auburn Recreation District, Van Dam works on her home farm with husband Chuck Van Dam. Together they manage 30 fruit trees, around a dozen egg producing chickens, a few ducks and geese, and their two Labrador retrievers Oso, and Star, both six-years-old. Some of Van Dam’s other hobbies include Bunko, baking fresh bread, and a monthly girls-night-out.
Not having children of their own, the Van Dam’s consider all the Girl Scouts and exchange students as part of their family. And at age 60, there’s no slowing Van Dam down.